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Sunday, 26 May 2013



On April 22, 1500,  Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral and his crew became the first Europeans to land in Brazil when they anchored at Monte Pascoal ("Easter Mount", it being the week of Easter).

Cabral (center-left, pointing) sights the Brazilian mainland for the first time on 22 April 1500.

On landing at the newly discovered land, Cabral built a wooden cross and together with his crew they knelt before it and kissed it. This was to demonstrate to the natives their veneration for the cross. Cabral named this new land, “Vera Cruz,” meaning “True Cross,” though it soon became known as ‘Brazil’ after the brazilwood found on the coast.

Although the official Portuguese discovery of Brazil was by Pedro Álvares Cabral, some historians believe that three months earlier Spanish navigator Vicente Yáñez Pinzón already had set anchor in a bay in Cabo de Santo Agostinho on January 26, 1500, which he named Cabo de Santa María de la Consolación.

The city of Salvador da Bahia was founded on March 29, 1549 by a fleet of Portuguese settlers headed by Thomé de Souza, the first Governor-General of Brazil,  Built on a high cliff overlooking All Saints bay as the first colonial capital of colonial Brazil, it quickly became its main sea port and an important center of the sugar industry and the slave trade. It is now the third largest city in the country, after São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Historic Center (Salvador) By Adam Jones Adam63 -Wikipedia Commons

The origins of the city of São Paulo lie in the founding of the Jesuit Colégio de São Paulo de Piratininga on January 25, 1554. The structure was located on top of a steep hill between the rivers Anhangabaú and Tamanduateí. The name of the college was chosen as it was founded on the celebration of the conversion of the Apostle Paul of Tarsus.

Founding of São Paulo, 1913 painting by Antonio Parreiras

It is estimated that about four million slaves were taken from Africa to Brazil during the slave trade, which was about forty-five percent of all slaves brought to the Americas.

In 1554 Jesuit missionaries José de Anchieta and Manoel da Nóbrega established a mission at São Paulo dos Campos de Piratininga, which grew to become São Paulo, Brazil.

In 1578 Jean De Léry published the first account of Brazilian music, Viagem à Terra do Brasil.

The Brazilian coffee industry began in 1727 with seedlings given as a gift from the wife of the governor of French Guiana to a Lt. Col. Francisco de Melo Palheta. The Brazilian Palheta was in French Guiana to mediate a border dispute between the French and Dutch only to find himself involved in an affair with the governor’s wife. When he returned to Brazil he passed the cuttings on to his emperor who was keen to obtain a share of the booming coffee market.

Today, Brazil accounts for almost 1/3 of the world's coffee production, producing over 3-1/3 billion pounds of coffee each year.

The Empire of Brazil was a 19th-century nation that broadly comprised the territories which form modern Brazil. Its government was a representative parliamentary constitutional monarchy under the rule of Emperors Dom Pedro I and his son Dom Pedro II. On September 7, 1822, Pedro declared the independence of Brazil from Portugal on the shores of the Ipiranga creek in São Paulo and, after waging a successful war against his father's kingdom, was acclaimed on October 12 as Pedro I, the first Emperor of Brazil.

Emperor Dom Pedro I at age 35, 1834

Despite his role in Brazilian independence, Pedro I became the king of Portugal in 1826.

The last King of Brazil was Pedro II who reigned from 1831 until he was overthrown in 1889.

Brazil abolished slavery on May 13, 1888 with the passage of the Lei Áurea ("Golden Law"),

Brazil's flag (see below) is decorated with an image of the night sky as it appeared over Rio de Janeiro on November 15, 1889, the day Brazil declared itself a federal republic.

Belo Horizonte, the first planned modern city in Brazil, was founded on December 12, 1897. It was planned and constructed to replace Ouro Preto as the capital of Minas Gerais, which was felt to be a symbol of the monarchic Brazilian Empire. Now Brazil was a republic, it was agreed that a new state capital, in tune with a modern and prosperous Minas Gerais, had to be set. The downtown street plan for Belo Horizonte included a symmetrical array of perpendicular and diagonal streets named after Brazilian states and Brazilian indigenous tribes.

Founding of the city in 1897

Brasília, a planned city primarily designed by architect and urban planner Lúcio Costa, was officially inaugurated on April 21, 1960, replacing Rio de Janeiro as the capital of Brazil.

The Monumental Axis By Governo do Brasil - Portal da Copa, Wikipedia Commons


Brazil's president. Dilma Rousseff, is half Bulgarian, but only visited the birthplace of her father for the first time in 2011.

Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world by landmass with 5.35 million square miles (behind Russia, Canada, China and the United States). Its only 300,000 square miles smaller than the US.

Brazil is the longest country in the world, and spans approximately 2800 miles from north to south via land.

Brazil covers 47.3 percent of South America. It has borders with every country in that continent except Ecuador and Chile.

Brazil is the sixth-largest country in the world by population with 200 million inhabitants.

The largest Japanese community outside Japan is in Brazil.

Brazil boasts the largest population of Catholics in the world at 66% of its population, about 130 million of the country’s total population.

Brazil is the location of the world's widest road. 160 cars can drive side by side.

Brazil is the only country to have played in every World Cup soccer tournament. It has won the World Cup five times, more than any other nation.

Of all the countries, Brazil has the most plant species, with over 56,000. It also has the most species of freshwater fish and mammals.

The weight of coffee produced in Brazil is twice the weight of tea produced in India.

Brazil became 100% energy independent in 2006, making a full turn around from years past when imported oil was as high as 70% of the country's needs.

193 is the fire emergency number in Brazil.


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